Home Forums Answer for Return to work plan for a non-work related injury

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I apologize for the delay. I somehow missed your Q.
First of all, you’re subject to Alberta workers’ comp law even though you’re federally regulated. Under the Bill 30 workers’ comp changes that took effect on Sept. 1 this year, employers have a duty to accommodate AND reinstate workers who suffer compensable injuries, i.e, work injuries covered by workers’ comp (WCB Policy 04-05). But since your employee’s injury is NOT work-related, Policy 04-05 doesn’t apply.
However, you do have a duty to accommodate an employee with a broken ankle (or any other disabling injury or illness) even if it’s not work-related to the point of undue hardship. As with all accommodation requests, the question of whether letting the employee return to work so soon is reasonable or undue hardship depends on the situation. Your obligation is not necessarily to agree to the request but to:

  1. Assess the employee’s capabilities;
  2. Seek to modify the position in accordance with those capabilities;
  3. If that’s not possible, determine if there are other jobs the employee can do.

While you don’t have to make up a job that delivers no value to the organization just to accommodate the employee, you do need to activate the accommodations process described above and, just as importantly, keep clear and specific records documenting your efforts. You should also treat the accommodations process as collaborative and not adversarial and work together with the employee and his/her representatives to work out a solution. If you do all this, you should be on solid legal grounds as far as a disability discrimination complaint is concerned.
Hope this helps. Glenn